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Theology Articles

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    As we learn emotions from Jesus, not only does our blood start to boil (see Part 2) and our stomachs turn (see Part 3), he also shows our hearts how to beat with real joy. There is a stereotype floating around which says that Jesus and the faith he represents are about cold-hearted duty, doing the right thing at the expense of our happiness. There are enough grim-faced moralistic systems out that brandish the name of “Christianity” to keep the stereotype alive. But they have more in common with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant than with the kingdom of Jesus. The day after he stormed the Temple, Jesus returns to the same Temple courts to announce that his kingdom is like a big party, and everyone is invited; not a boarding school, not a boot camp, not a prison chain gang, but a party.

  • William Craig — 

    Dr. Craig, I wanted to ask you a question as someone who is simply curious about Christianity. Can you explain what I consider to be the two "W"s of life under your God. These are work and worship ...

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    If we peer underneath Jesus’ table-flipping rage at the Temple (explored in Part 2), we find a still deeper emotion to reflect. Matthew’s account tells us that immediately after protesting the poor-oppressing, God-mocking Temple system, “the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them" (Matthew 21:14). What a beautiful moment. In it we see that Jesus was outraged not in spite of His care for people but precisely because of it. The very people marginalized and trampled under the religious power structure are brought into the spotlight and elevated by Jesus. (He has a way of doing that.) He didn’t take anything from them or treat them like chumps in a captive market. He gave them vision and sound bodies. He treated them like the intrinsically valuable human beings they each were—and all for free.

  • David Talley — 

    In Mark 9:1-13 we read about an unparalleled event in the Bible. It is absolutely amazing to let our imaginations wander to consider what the disciples actually witnessed. What a moment it must have been. But what does it actually mean to us? What can we learn from this event?

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    To see and experience something of Jesus’ emotions, let us join eighty to a hundred thousand religious pilgrims on their trek to the sacred city to worship at the Jewish Temple. It is Passover week. In order to participate in the traditional Temple offerings, people need doves or pigeons. Since worshippers need these birds, they were sold at the Temple at a premium price. You could get a more economical bird outside the Temple courts or lug one from home through the hot desert. However, every bird used in Temple rituals had to pass the rigid purity standards of the Temple’s in-house animal inspectors. Only inflated Temple-sold birds had the guaranteed certification of the scrupulous inspectors. In this way, the house of prayer had become a classic case of what economists call a “captive market.

  • John McKinley — 

    As with anything we touch, even good behaviors and initiatives can be twisted to harmful effects in our lives. The Bible holds out many precepts and instructions for right behaviors that are “acceptable” and “pleasing” to God. These guidelines are helpful for Christians to discern how to make choices in harmony with God, instead of in violation of God. The twist is when we mistakenly attempt to leverage the good actions we might do to prop up our sense of our acceptability before God. Many children learn from parents’ responses that behaviors can evoke positive and negative responses; how much of this learning is projected onto our relationship with God, our father in heaven? ...

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    ... At one time or another, most of us have encountered situations at work that, for one reason or another, are troublesome and don’t seem to have a clear resolution. Discerning the right thing to do seems complicated, with each possibility appearing to have an equal number of strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the issue at stake is more on the level of personal business ethics, as is the case in the story above. Sometimes the issue is one that is on a broader level and affects the business as a whole. For example, what does a business do when there is a tension between paying a higher wage or providing better benefits, and charging prices that will allow the business to remain competitive? Where is the line between marketing that allows the consumer to make a more informed decision and marketing that manipulates consumers into buying products they don’t want or need? ...

  • William Craig — 

    Hi Dr. Craig, Let me first say that while not a Christian myself (although I've somehow ended up doing a theology degree...) I am a very big fan of your program of presenting rigorous and rational justification for Christian doctrine - in particular you have thoroughly convinced me on the cosmological argument! However I am unwilling to move beyond belief in a minimalist Deist creator God for several reasons, among which is the question of: Is the incarnation compatible with theodicy? ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Doug Geivett is professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. He's recently published two books that focus on the New Apostolic Reformation. One is a shorter book titled God's Super-Apostles, and a longer one called A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement. Both can be purchased directly from the publisher or at amazon.com. Today's interview explores the nature and influence of this movement.

  • John McKinley — 

    Being a man, I have trouble with most emotions (when I am aware of them in myself or others). Often, my response to emotions is to think about the experience, but that tends to pin feelings down rather than give deeper expression to them. I’ve learned by trial and error to trust feelings by giving them my attention and expressing them momentarily as I sense them. I was able to practice this recently when faced with the loss of Bob Saucy ...

  • Tom Finley — 

    Dr. Bob Saucy was a skilled teacher, beloved colleague, and friend. He greatly influenced my own theology and path in life. Having studied under him at Talbot, I have known him for many years. He was a tremendous man of God and truly a "Distinguished Professor." He will be sorely missed at Talbot by students, alumni, staff, and faculty.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Maybe you didn’t know that he was gone. He was. The prophet Ezekiel saw it all in a vision. God abandoned his temple during the Babylonian Exile in the sixth-century BC ...

  • David Talley — 

    Discovery House recently published a new Bible Atlas that is worth your time to review. I thought you might find it helpful to become better acquainted with the author, Jack Beck, so I asked him the following questions.

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    Dr. Robert L. Saucy was a faculty member at Talbot for 54 years. He began teaching here in 1961—the year JFK was inaugurated as President, the Andy Griffith show made its debut, and Henry Mancini received a Grammy for “Moon River.” The Dean of Talbot, Dr. Charles Feinberg, hired Bob to Chair both the Systematic Theology Department and the Department of English Bible. At that time, Talbot was less than 100 students.

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, On Jan 5th I made a statement that I was not going to allow doubt in regards to Jesus into my life, Jesus appears to be the best choice and that’s what I’m going with and I’ll reevaluate at the end of the year. Well, a few days after I made this statement some books by Rabbi Tovia Singer (Let's Get Biblical) that I ordered earlier arrived and I couldn’t help myself to start reading them. I hate that I’m so inconsistent, but I will not apologize for yearning for truth ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    There are many memories I will treasure of my father, Robert Saucy, but I will write about only one now that has most profoundly impacted me—I believe, for all eternity. It was Dad’s passion for God’s Word.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    A memorial service for Dr. Robert L. Saucy will be held on Sunday, March 29, 2015, 2-4 p.m. in the Chase Gymnasium at Biola University. A reception will immediately follow. For those who would like to attend and cannot be physically present, the service will be streamed live at http://watch.biola.edu/bobsaucy ...

  • John McKinley — 

    When I offered a new seminar course on Ecclesiology last semester, one of the books we discussed is Gregg R. Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers: the Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, 2012). This is the latest volume in the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series edited by John Feinberg. The book has several features to commend it for evangelical readers interested in ecclesiology. One characteristic throughout the book is the clear and well-organized writing style that is a model for students to see how ideas are presented, supported with evidence, and critiqued or nuanced. It is difficult to misunderstand Allison’s meaning and how all of his claims fit together.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    A tribute to our beloved brother in Christ, Dr. Robert Saucy, who went home to be with the Lord on March 12, 2015.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    I used to think that worship songs where you could swap out all the God references, with “baby” were evidence that God had been trivialized by a sappy, spiritualized romanticism in the church. There may be truth to that. But perhaps the interchangeability of “God” and “baby” in worship songs says less about worship songs and more about love songs, less about how the church man-sizes God (which does happen) and more about a much broader tendency in the church and culture-at-large to God-size our romantic partners ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The short answer, I believe, is that there is nothing wrong with offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit since God the Spirit is, of course, fully God, just as is God the Father and God the Son. However, most prayers in the New Testament and in the church of the second and third centuries were to God the Father, with a few exceptions.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    In this series of posts, we attempt to offer a rich and appreciative reading of James chapter 1 and 2 with an eye to James’ theology of human redemption—a Jacobian soteriology. In the previous post, we considered James 1:18 and 21 and concluded that this “word of truth” and “implanted word” thus is a new character, a new heart’s disposition created in us. It must be received (1:21) and, as the “law of freedom” it must be obeyed (1:22-25). Mercy must, it appears, be enacted in order to be efficacious. And thus the answer to the third question regarding this proverbial statement appears to be “yes,” mercy is a “work” required for salvation. But that is a misleading way to understand James. It is better perhaps to call the mercy that triumphs an appropriation of the divine concern (2:5, 8), proof of the reality of the “birth” (1:18) and the “implanted word” (1:21), and an accurate understanding of “faith” (2:14). This question of what constitutes “good works” will be explored now in this final post.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    In this series of posts, we attempt to offer a rich and appreciative reading of James chapter 1 and 2 with an eye to James’ theology of human redemption—a Jacobian soteriology. In the previous post, we considered the function of the “word” and the “law” as God’s gracious gifts for salvation. Here we specifically looked at James 1:18 and 21 and concluded that this “word of truth” and “implanted word” thus is a new character, a new heart’s disposition created in us. It must be received (1:21) and, as the “law of freedom” it must be obeyed (1:22-25). Thus, the “word/law” in James is God’s instrument for salvation—it is both gift and responsibility. In this second post we will focus on James 2:12-13 where “mercy” triumphs over judgment.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    I suspect for many readers of the New Testament that the Letter of James is something like the odd uncle at a family Christmas party who unfortunately suffers from chronic halitosis. Someone you rather not talk with, but in the end you are related—and thus might owe the obligatory yearly conversation. Well, if this does not accurately describe the church’s reception of James, it certainly represents the attitude of many scholars. For example, Andrew Chester notes “James presents a unique problem within the New Testament ...

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr Craig, I have recently moved on from Christianity to agnosticism, but I regularly check out your Q and A section as much of the content there is more sensible and thought provoking than the kind of thing I hear from a lot of Evangelicals ... Currently it seems to me that the idea of prayer is most sensibly explained as an addictive placebo that gives people a greater sense of control over their circumstances than they actually have. But just maybe there's something crucial I've missed, and if so I would be grateful if you could point out what that might be ...